The Our Lady of the Soul (Santa Maria dell’Anima) church, formerly the national church of the Holy Roman Empire, is still the German national church in Rome and is located near Piazza Navona in the center of the city.
Santa Maria dell’Anima Church Rome
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address: Via di Santa Maria dell’Anima, 66 – Rome. Phone: +39 06 68281802 or 06 68801394. Opening hours: From 07:30amtill -01:00pm and from 02:00pm till 06:00pm. Entrance fee: Free.
History and description
The church was built around the year 1500. According to legend it owes its name to the picture of Blessed Virgin between two souls that constitutes its coat of arms.
Like many churches in Rome it owes its beginnings to an institution for pilgrims, in this case a hospice which was built in occasion of the 1350 Jubilee by the Dutch couple Jan and Katharina Peters. The hospice was called Beatae Mariae Animarum, or “Saint Mary of the Souls” and initially its guests came from the Low Countries and the area around the Rhine.
In 1431 a church was constructed to replace the hospice’s chapel and at the end of the same century it was reconstructed (in occasion of the 1500 Jubilee). The new church was not consecrated until 1542 however.
The architect was Andrea Sansovino, but Giuliano da Sangallo was responsible for the Renaissance facade.
The interior structure of the Church of Our Lady of the Soul is that of a German Hallenkirche (hall church), completely unlike other churches in the Piazza Navona area.
It was restored in 1843 and during the occupation by Napoleon‘s troops its sacristy was used as a stable.
In 1859 the confraternity was renamed the Collegio Teutonico di Santa Maria dell’Anima. Until 1939 it remained the national church for Dutch Catholics, but a number of conflicts caused them to leave the church, although the Dutch pope Adrian VI, who was the last non-Italian Pope before John Paul II, is still buried here. The Belgian community had already moved to the Church of St. Julian of the Flemings in 1844. (Since 1992 the San Michele dei Frisoni, or the Frisian church, near the Vatican, is the national church of the Netherlands in Rome).
Main works of art in the church of Our Lady of the Soul
- A Holy Family by Giuliano Romano: It was painted in 1521 and the Fugger family, who paid for the painting, is also depicted.
- The funeral monument for Pope Adrian VI was partly designed by Baldassare Peruzzi.
- Francesco Salviati’s Deposition
- Carlo Saraceni’s Miracles of Saint Benno and Martyrdom of Saint Lambert, painted in 1618.